Cambridgeshire ACF offers many useful qualifications to its cadets and adults. Some of the most important of these come from CVQO, (Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisation) a UK education charity which offers a range of vocational qualifications and awards, designed to recognise work carried out within youth organisations. These courses are BTec (Business & Technology Education Council) and ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) and cover subjects such as Teamwork, Leadership and Management. Cambridgeshire ACF has achieved excellent results with take-up of CVQO qualifications and with successful nominees for the CVQO Westminster Award.
Although disruption to these qualifications has been caused by the pandemic, Cambridgeshire ACF had achieved fantastic results before the lockdown and is making great progress again. Cadets have achieved more than 200 BTec Level 1 Teamwork and Personal Skills and Citizenship qualifications. Although the funding for this closed a few years ago, a new course, the ILM Level 2 Young Leaders Award was created, and aimed at cadets with their APC 1star and higher aged 14-15yr 6mths. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a stop to this course, but despite this we have already gained just over 100 passes in this (more than other counties in the Region). The course will be returning later this year and cadets are invited to enrol, the course is funded, with just £15 to pay for cadets.
Badges to show various CVQO awards and qualifications.
Once cadets have gained one or both the above qualifications, they usually want to progress to the next stage undertaking the BTec Level 2 Diploma in Teamwork and Personal Development (TPD) [they must be 16 on/before 31 August of each year before the September start]. This is clear from the massive jump in cadets undertaking this qualification (leaping from 10 in 2016 to 44 in 2019). The Level 2 Diploma is fully funded, but cadets must finish the course once they enrol. An extended certificate is also available, for which a cadet completes a Teamwork Unit and generally already has a Duke of Edinburgh Award, but may wish to complete the remaining three Units to achieve the 60 credits required for the full Diploma.
The CVQO/BTec pinnacle for any cadet is to be nominated for “The CVQO Westminster Award” which is an annual competition designed to recognise and reward the most deserving of our learners. Each year we invite cadet and youth group leaders to come forward and nominate a brilliant young person for something they've achieved. Additionally, nominations can now be endorsed by fellow cadets!
Btec Level 2 badge as worn on a cadet's blanking plate.
CVQO Westminster Award office deliberately leave the criteria for the nomination open; it could be that they’ve overcome a personal challenge, helped a family member or friend in need, undertaken some amazing community/charity work or are simply an all-round terrific character.
Any cadet who has enrolled and completed their Unit 1 of their Diploma (by the start of November) is eligible to be nominated for the Westminster Award, though the other criteria is that only one cadet per detachment may be nominated and they must complete the full Diploma not Extended Certificate.
In 2019 we submitted six nominations, with three reaching Stage 2; in 2020 11 cadets were nominated, all reaching Stage 2 and one is waiting to take part in Stage 3, this year nine submissions were made and again all have reached the next Stage. Any cadet who reaches Stage 3 normally goes away for a week’s outward bound-type course and completes their ILM Level 3 in Leadership and Management but this year it is likely to be “on-line” and this will include the last years cadets who are still waiting from last year to take part in Stage 3.
This year, depending on the cadets’ submissions it looks as if we could have more than one cadet reach Stage 3, which would be excellent news for the county. Each time the cadet reaches a different stage they receive a specially designed badge with the Westminster Award lion on it. We hope that our counties success will encourage still more cadets to take part in this important and prestigious qualification.
Cadet Corporal Phoenix Hart has completed several CVQO courses and is now one of our nominees for the Westminster Award. He said: “After completing my GCSEs I thought that I had all the qualifications I needed, but in reality employers are looking for the extra steps. So, when cadets offered me the chance to complete the CVQO qualifications I took the opportunity. Since then, I’ve been nominated twice for the Westminster Award and have noticed a significant increase in my job prospects. I’ve also learnt some great real-world skills that I can use to help my future”
Text by Mrs Liz Hyslop with PI Doug Stuart
CVQO enquiries to Liz Hyslop firstname.lastname@example.org